Physical property often takes a backseat during a divorce, to emotions. But, deciding what things are yours is an important step of the process. Making sure you keep what's yours during the proceedings will prevent regret later in life. Sometimes, the law can seem to muddy the definition of what a couple shares and what is private. There are some guidelines, though, to help determine what you might be able to keep.
First, it is helpful to know the opposite of personal property: community property. In this procedure, the court splits everything up into even sections for each partner. Of course, the court can't divide the couple's possessions into two perfect parts. So, the "inception of title rule" applies. This rule considers the status of the object in deciding which party will receive it. It is important to keep in mind that all property is community property unless proven otherwise.
Separate property is something that an individual claimed before they were married. Or they could be items that someone gifted to a person during a marriage. These can include:
- Inherited items.
- Family heirlooms.
- Things purchased before the marriage.
- Some types of personal injury awards.
During your proceedings, it may be helpful to hire a divorce attorney knowledgeable about property division. It is easy for emotions to cloud thinking. It is also common to desire to finish the divorce as quickly as possible which can lead to poor, rash decisions. An attorney can help interpret the law and guide you through the process. They may help you to keep the things that are rightfully yours.